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ADPH allowing WIC adjustments amid infant formula shortages

(Beatriz Reyna)
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 11:54 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is making adjustments to the state’s Women, Infants, and Children program, or WIC, in light of the recent nationwide shortages of baby formula.

ADPH is allowing flexibilities with some infant formulas to include varying the forms (powder, concentrate, ready to use) and sizes issued to WIC families. WIC recipients are also allowed to return or exchange store purchases of formula.

ADPH WIC’s infant formula rebate contract is with Mead Johnson Nutritionals. State health leaders say they are in regular communication with Mead Johnson, and the company is working with distribution centers that supply Alabama retailers to keep WIC-specific products on the shelf.

WIC is monitoring daily formula redemptions and has not seen a change in the redemptions for WIC recipients at this time.

Experts say if you are struggling to find formula, contact your health care provider. Other potential sources of formula include food banks and community groups with a vested interest in families.

Families can also contact manufacturers directly for help in finding formula:

  • MyGerber Baby Expert:  www.gerber.com/mygerber-baby-expert
  • Abbott’s Customer Service: 1-877-4Abbott or 1-800-986-8540 (recall-specific information)
  • Abbott’s product request line and form for metabolic formulas:  1-800-553-7042
  • Reckitt’s (Mead Johnson) Customer Service: 1-800-BABY-123 (222-9123)

Chief Medical Officer and pediatrician Dr. Karen Landers advises parents to direct formula and nutritional questions to their medical providers. She also warns against improvising formula, saying, “Diluting formula, making your own formula, and using formula not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration can cause your baby to become sick. Many families are able to safely feed their babies another formula when their usual formula is not in stock.”

Health experts also encourage mothers to consider breastfeeding as a nutrition source for babies.

Leaders also encourage people to check with their state health department to see if they qualify for WIC, saying there are many out there who qualify for the WIC program but don’t know it.

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